Every hospital has its week and strong areas of care. The number of nurses per patient, chances of getting infected with MRSA, the death rate during various surgical procedures, and the types of care provided are a few examples of the ways in which a hospital might be considered. As a patient, once admitted, you have to trust your healthcare providers. You can do that easier if you know they are the best you can get before you lay in one of their beds.
There are several tools online that can help you achieve this trust.
Hospital Compare – a government rating system published by CMS, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You put in a zip code and then choose three hospitals in that area to compare. When I put in the Mayo Clinic’s zip code in Minnesota, I got a list of hospitals in which the Mayo Clinic stands out as one of the best, as it should. I trust this site completely and it is a valuable site to visit for general information about health care.
US News – US News awards plaques when they rank a hospital as one of the top care providers in a specialty. Hospitals will hang those plaques in prominent places because this award is highly regarded. The above link takes you to a nationwide ranking of the best hospitals. If you click on the name of the hospital the site will first rate the performance of the hospital in various specialties, such as cancer, psychiatry, or heart surgery, and when you choose a specialty US News gives you a scorecard. The scorecard tells you why the hospital ranked high. For someone with money or insurance that allows them to choose the best of the best, this is a good site to find which hospitals that will be.
US News by State – This is where you would go to find the best hospitals ranked by US News in your state. If you are faced with a difficult diagnosis or difficult treatment, you could look at the hospitals closest to you to find the best one for the best care. You might have options. Find a few hospitals and compare them on the Hospital Compare site.
Healthgrades – This is privately run site on which you will find advertisements. Sometimes selling advertising space can create a conflict of interest. Because of that, I wouldn’t use this site exclusively but in tandem with other sites. It’s always best to have more than one source for information anyways. Verification is always important when researching anything.
If you want to know where to go for the best care, whether that be in your area or in the Nation, use sites like these. Simply going to the closest hospital might not be wise. Research and verify your options and choose based on the condition you need to have treated. Find the best hospital for the type of care you need and once you have done that, call the hospital’s referral service to find a doctor. Then check the doctor. Start by Googling him or her for reviews and awards. With a little research and time, you can find the best hospital and doctor available to you and improve the quality of your care.